Hearty Shepherd’s Pie

This is one of my favorite comfort foods on a cold, Fall evening in the Pacific Northwest. The original recipe called for two pounds of ground lamb or beef, but I prefer one 20 oz. package of ground turkey breast meat. I’ve made it in my stainless steel Princess House casserole dish many times, but my favorite way to make it is in several single-serve oven-proof dishes. That way, they’re pre-portioned and any leftover fully-cooked portions can be frozen for future enjoyment.

The recipe was adapted from Easy Ideas brochure 9494-13, offered by Princess House in 2002. For a short time, I was talked into going WAY outside my comfort zone and sold Princess House crystal and kitchen products. I didn’t have to modify this recipe to be gluten-free. It’s just naturally gluten-free, but it does taste delicious with warm bread on the side. We love the gluten-free baguettes made by Against the Grain, found in the freezer section at Whole Foods.

Freshly Baked Hearty Shepherd's Pie

Hearty Shepherd’s Pie
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

1-2 T. EVOO or avocado oil
20 oz. ground meat (I prefer turkey breast)
1 white or yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced (or less, but we LOVE garlic)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 rounded tsp. dried thyme or 2 sprigs, if using fresh
1-2 cups frozen broccoli florets
12 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables (I prefer Fred Meyer’s Fiesta Style veggies)
12 oz. beef stock
4 cups instant mashed potatoes
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Optional:
2 green onions or approx 2 T. chives finely chopped

Directions:

Heat a 4 quart (or larger) Dutch oven or stock pot to medium heat and drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil. I prefer avocado oil. Add the diced onion and stir. While the onion is softening, add the ground meat, then the minced garlic. Break up the meat and cook until it’s no longer pink and the onion is softened. If necessary, drain off any fat, then season with thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Add the frozen veggies and beef stock to the meat mixture and increase the heat. Bring it to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, turn off the burner and remove the pot from the stove and let stand while preparing the mashed potatoes.

Prepare the instant mashed potatoes according to the package instruction, or use leftover mashed potatoes. Mix 1/2 cup of shredded cheese into the potatoes, then drop the potatoes onto the meat mixture. If you like a more rustic look, drop the mashed potatoes with a large serving spoon or scoop. Otherwise, smooth them out with the back of a spoon. If you want to divide the meat mixture into individual oven-proof ramekins, do so before adding the mashed potatoes. You may need to make additional mashed potatoes, or simply spread them thinly across the meat and veggies.

Bake the shepherd’s pie, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar, chives or green onions onto the potatoes. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Making the Shepherd's Pie

My plate of Freshly Baked Hearty Shepherd's Pie

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